America's Death Throes
By Finian Cunningham
- China and Russia have already ditched the US
dollar in their vast energy trade. Now China is
leveraging Saudi Arabia to also abandon the
greenback for oil sales. No wonder, it seems,
that US policies are increasingly lashing out.
power depends on its presumed economic prowess
and military force. With its economy
in long-term decline, precipitated by the
teetering dollar, the US rulers are relying
increasingly on militarism to project power.
That tendency is pushing the world to war.
challenge is to somehow steer the American
military monster into a safe berth
without eliciting a world war.
The US decline is of historic proportions –
on par with the demise of other past empires –
and it stems from the
of the petrodollar system, which has given the
US unprecedented privileges over the
past decades since the Second World War
no coincidence that a surge in global tensions
over recent years comes at a time when the
American economy is staring into an abyss. The
key to the survival of the US economy as we know
it is the status of the American dollar as the
world's top reserve currency.
so-called petrodollar system, in which the
world's most traded commodity oil and gas are
conducted primarily through American currency,
appears to be coming to an end. That decades-old
system is being challenged by the rise of China,
Russia, India, Iran and others. If the
petrodollar and its global privileges are
displaced then the United States is facing an
should be said that there is nothing
illegitimate about challenging this American
unipolar dominance. Why should countries be
forced to conduct their international trade
primarily with the US dollar owing simply
to historical circumstances during the 1970s
that gave rise to the petrodollar system? That
system works, in effect, like a global tax that
the US imposes on all other nations because they
are compelled to purchase American-printed
Perhaps no two other countries have done more
to forge a multipolar global order than China
and Russia. China is the biggest oil importer
and Russia is the world's biggest fuel exporter.
year that oil trade would be henceforth
conducted in their own national currencies of yuan
and rouble that development marked a nail in the
Now, only a few weeks ago, China and Saudi
Arabia – the world's second-biggest oil producer
launched earnest negotiations for future energy
fuel trade to be conducted in yuan. Commentators
Arabia has little choice in the matter,
since China has been progressively reducing the
kingdom's market share with other oil exporters,
like Russia and Iran. If the Saudis want
to maintain exports to the world’s biggest
economy, then they will have to do their
business in Chinese currency, not the US dollar
as they have customarily done.
Martin, an American political analyst, said the
long-anticipated decline in the petrodollar is
picking up pace.
petrodollar is in decline, and consequently the
entire financial system that undergirds the
western economies," Martin said. "China and
Russia have laid the global economic foundation
for the new 'Silk Road' and the emergence of a
new Eurasian economy that puts the US and its
petrodollar on the outside. That leaves the US
dollar and its economy in tatters as long as the
US insists on trying to maintain its unipolar
quest for global economic dominance. To be
clear, what China and Russia have successfully
done is to unravel the economic foundation of US
However, that historic demise of US power is
fraught with danger. That's because the shift
from an American-dominated unipolar world to a
multipolar one will come at huge economic pain
to the US. With a debt mountain of $20 trillion
and skyrocketing inflation due to the eventual
demise of the dollar, American society faces an
implosion from poverty, unemployment and social
"Consequently, the world is faced with a global
superpower in mortal decline, which is now
expressing its existential fears with wanton
military aggression across the globe. This will
result in a grave threat to humanity as the US
grapples for its place in a new multipolar
global economy," Martin concluded.
political system is fighting for its very
survival given the imminent end of its
petrodollar hegemony. It is no coincidence that
the US ruling elite is resorting to militarism
and war as a way to stave off the feared
economic turmoil. The frequency of US-led wars
across the Middle East region, in particular, is
all about maintaining American hegemony
through imposing military might.
proxy war in Syria
is a foil for the US to subjugate perceived
global rivals, Iran and Russia.
relevant is that the Persian Gulf gas-rich
emirate of Qatar has
led the way
among the Arab states for doing more trade
with China by replacing the dollar with the yuan.
Qatar has also maintained relatively friendly
relations with Iran with which it shares an
enormous offshore gas field.
midst of these tumultuous world relations, the
US is seeking to militarize the context as much
as possible. By stoking and prolonging
conflicts, the US stands to gain from military
commerce and also by maintaining its sphere
of influence over subordinate nations.
Primarily, this is in the form of propping
up the petrodollar system in the oil-rich Middle
noted, when the petrodollar system collapses
through the emergence of a multipolar world then
the US economy and indeed its entire society
as we know it is staring into an abyss.
response to its looming demise has been the
wholesale underwriting of a military-based
economy for Saudi Arabia," analyst Randy Martin
was marked last month by US President Donald
his first-ever overseas trip
to Saudi Arabia to announce a record weapons
contract worth up to $350 billion – three times
what his predecessor Barack Obama
sold to Saudi
Arabia during his eight-year presidency.
corollary of American militarism in the Middle
East is a surge in tensions and potential
for all-out war in Syria with Russia and Iran.
meddling in the Middle East is little more
than an existential bid to preserve its hegemony
there through military force, as its economic
dominance through the petrodollar slips away,"
emergence of a multipolar world seems not only
inevitable. It is desirable in terms
of establishing a more democratic global order.
A unipolar world as seen under US hegemony is a
formula for tyranny and lawlessness.
good news is that US hegemony is crumbling. The
demise of the petrodollar is the telltale sign
of another empire sunsetting. But that
transition to a more reasonable and sustainable
world order is akin to negotiating a way out of
Fortunately, Russia and China may have
sufficient military power to deter the
desperate, waning American empire from trying
to incite catastrophic war. However, death
throes are seldom rational events.
article was first published by
views expressed in this article are solely those
of the author and do not necessarily reflect the
opinions of Information Clearing House.